There have been various attempts at the classification of demons within the contexts of classical mythology, demonology, occultism, Renaissance magic. These classifications may be for purposes of traditional medicine, exorcism, ceremonial magic, witch-hunts, lessons in morality, folklore, religious ritual, or combinations thereof. Classifications might be according to astrological connections, elemental forms, noble titles, or parallels to the angelic hierarchy; or by association with particular sins, diseases, and other calamities; or by what angel or saint opposes them. Many of the authors identified as Christian, though Christians authors are not the only ones who have written on the subject. The Testament of Solomon is a pseudepigraphical work, purportedly written by King Solomon, in which the author mostly describes particular demons whom he enslaved to help build the temple, the questions he put to them about their deeds and how they could be thwarted, and their answers, which provide a kind of self-help manual against demonic activity. The date is very dubious, though it is considered the oldest surviving work particularly concerned with individual demons. Michael Psellus prepared the influential De operatione dæmonum (On the Operation of Demons) in the 11th century, with a taxonomy dividing demons into six types: Leliurium (Igneous), Aërial, Marine (Aqueous), Terrestrial (Earthly), Subterranean, and Lucifugous (Heliophobic).
Familiars, goblins, and other mischievous demons belong to the folklore of most European countries.
The work of Psellus would inspire many other later demonic classifications, from various occult authors to the witch hunting manual by Francesco Maria Guazzo. This list was later used in the works of John Taylor, the Water Poet. Cambions and other demons that are born from the union of a demon with a human being. This classification is somewhat capricious and it is difficult to find a criterion for it. It seems that Spina was inspired by several legends and stories. The drudes belong to German folklore. Familiars, goblins, and other mischievous demons belong to the folklore of most European countries. The belief in incubi and succubi (and their ability to procreate) seem to have inspired the sixth category, but it could also have been inspired in the Talmudic legend of demons having sexual intercourse with mortal women and men (see also Mastema). The visions of tempting demons that some early (and not so early) saints had, perhaps inspired the eighth category (eg The idea of old women attending Sabbaths was common during the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, and Spina mentioned it before the Malleus Maleficarum. In De occulta philosophia (1509-1510), Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa proposed several classifications for demons, based on numeric scales, like his whole Cosmology. Despite listed separately, Agrippa mentions that these groups are identical, making the first as the Hebrew equivalent of the names of the latter.
The same four demons appear in the Semiphoras and Schemhamforas. As part of his 1589 Treatise on Confessions by Evildoers and Witches, German theologian Peter Binsfeld prepared a classification of demons known as the Princes of Hell. Like the Lanterne of Light, Binsfeld used the seven deadly sins as a basis, though the two schemes differ in various ways. King James wrote a dissertation titled "Daemonologie" that was first published in 1597, several years prior to the first publication of the King James Authorized Version of the Bible. Within 3 short books James wrote a dissertation in the form of a philosophical play, making arguments and comparisons between magic, sorcery, and witchcraft but wrote also his classifications of demons into 4 sections. His classification were not based on separate demonic entities with their names, ranks, or titles but rather categorized them based on 4 methods used by any given devil to cause mischief or torment on a living individual or a corpse. The purpose was to relay the belief that spirits caused maladies and that magic was possible only through demonic influence. He further quotes previous authors who state that each devil has the ability to appear in diverse shapes or forms for varying arrays of purposes as well.
In his description of them, he relates that demons are under the direct supervision of God and are unable to act without permission, further illustrating how demonic forces are used as a "Rod of Correction" when men stray from the will of God and may be commissioned by witches, or magicians to conduct acts of ill will against others but will ultimately only conduct works that will end in the further glorification of God despite their attempts to do otherwise. Possession: Used to describe spirits that enter inwardly into a person to trouble them. Fairies: Used to describe spirits that prophesy, consort, and transport. In 1613 Sebastien Michaelis wrote a book, Admirable History, which included a classification of demons as it was told to him by the demon Berith when he was exorcising a nun, according to the author. This classification is based on the Pseudo-Dionysian hierarchies, according to the sins the devil tempts one to commit, and includes the demons' adversaries (who suffered that temptation without falling). Note that many demons' names are exclusively French or unknown in other catalogs.
St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist are the two St. Johns to whom Michaelis refers. The other saints are cited only by their name without making clear, ie, which Francis is mentioned (of Assisi?). The first hierarchy includes angels that were Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones. Beelzebub was a prince of the Seraphim, just below Lucifer. Beelzebub, along with Lucifer and Leviathan, were the first three angels to fall. He tempts men with pride and is opposed by St. Leviathan was also a prince of the Seraphim who tempts people to give into heresy, and is opposed by St. Asmodeus was also a prince of the Seraphim, burning with desire to tempt men into wantonness. He is opposed by St. Berith was a prince of the Cherubim. He tempts men to commit homicide, and to be quarrelsome, contentious, and blasphemous. He is opposed by St. Astaroth was a prince of Thrones, who tempts men to be lazy and is opposed by St. Verrine was also a prince of Thrones, just below Astaroth. He tempts men with impatience and is opposed by St.
Gressil was the third prince of Thrones, who tempts men with impurity and is opposed by St. Soneillon was the fourth prince of Thrones, who tempts men to hate and is opposed by St. The second hierarchy includes Powers, Dominions, and Virtues. Carreau was a prince of Powers. He tempts men with hardness of heart and is opposed by St. Vincent and Vincent Ferrer. Carnivale was also a prince of Powers. He tempts men to obscenity and shamelessness, and is opposed by John the Evangelist. Oeillet was a prince of Dominions. He tempts men to break the vow of poverty and is opposed by St. Rosier was the second in the order of Dominions. He tempts men against sexual purity and is opposed by St. Belias was the prince of Virtues. He tempts men with arrogance and women to be vain, raise wanton children, and gossip during mass. He is opposed by St. The third hierarchy Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.
Verrier was the prince of Principalities. He tempts men against the vow of obedience and is opposed by St. Olivier was the prince of the Archangels. He tempts men with cruelty and mercilessness toward the poor and is opposed by St. Luvart was the prince of Angels. At the time of Michaelis's writing, Luvart was believed to be in the body of a Sister Madeleine. Many of the names and ranks of these demons appear in the Sabbath litanies of witches, according to Jules Garinet's Histoire de la magie en France, and Collin De Plancy's Dictionnaire Infernal. In the study of demonology, many spirits are classified by office, rank, or titles which theologians believe were once held in heaven before the fall, or which they currently hold in their infernal dwelling. These offices are usually elaborated in several grimoires which determine their authority in hell or abilities. Demons categorized by office are often depicted in a militant hierarchy, in which a general may hold command over some designated legion for a specialized function which they may trouble men. Other theologians have determined the classification of a spirit's office depending on the times or locations which they roam the Earth. The Book of Abramelin, possibly written in the 14th or 15th century, lists four princes of the demons: Lucifer, Leviathan, Satan and Belial. There are also eight sub-princes: Astaroth, Magoth, Asmodee, Beelzebub, Oriens, Paimon, Ariton (Egin) and Amaymon. Under the rule of these there are many lesser demons.
Written in the 15th or 16th century, this grimoire was a likely source for Wierus hierarchy of demons, but while Wierus mentions 69 demons, Le Livre des Esperitz has only 46. Wierus omitted, however, the four demons of the cardinal points: Orient, Ponymon, Amaymon and Equi (see Agrippa's classification) and the three great governors of all the other demons: Lucifer, Beelzebub and Satan. Written in the 15th century, this manual includes a list of eleven demons. Written in 1494, this grimoire contains a list of 37 demons. Like many works of mystical nature, Le Dragon Rouge (or the Red Dragon) claims to come from Solomon and his priests and is said to be published in 1517 by Alibeck the Egyptian. However, it was most likely written in France in the 18th century. The grimoire details the different hosts of hell and their powers, describing how to enter a pact with them to attain the magicians' goals. The demons of hell are classified by three different tiers from Generals to Officers. Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, by Johann Weyer, is a grimoire that contains a list of demons and the appropriate hours and rituals to conjure them in the name of God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost (simpler than those cited by The Lesser Key of Solomon below). This book was written around 1583, and lists sixty-eight demons.
The demons Vassago, Seir, Dantalion and Andromalius are not listed in this book. Pseudomonarchia Daemonum does not attribute seals to the demons. The Lesser Key of Solomon or Lemegeton Clavicula Solomonis is an anonymous 17th century grimoire, and one of the most popular books of demonology. The Lesser Key of Solomon contains detailed descriptions of spirits and the conjurations needed to invoke and oblige them to do the will of the conjurer (referred to as the "exorcist"). It details the protective signs and rituals to be performed, the actions necessary to prevent the spirits from gaining control, the preparations prior to the invocations, and instructions on how to make the necessary instruments for the execution of these rituals. The author of The Lesser Key of Solomon copied Pseudomonarchia Daemonum almost completely, but added demons' descriptions, their seals and details. Ars Goetia is the first section of The Lesser Key of Solomon, containing descriptions of the seventy-two demons that King Solomon is said to have evoked and confined in a bronze vessel sealed by magic symbols, and that he to work for him.
The Ars Goetia assigns a rank and a title of nobility to each member of the infernal hierarchy, and gives the demons "signs they have to pay allegiance to", or seals. The Dictionnaire Infernal (English: Infernal Dictionary) is a book on demonology, organized in hellish hierarchies. It was written by Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy and first published in 1818. There were several editions of the book, but perhaps the most famous is the edition of 1863, in which sixty-nine illustrations were added to the book. These illustrations are drawings that depict the descriptions of the appearance of a number of demons. Many of these images were later used in SL MacGregor Mathers's edition of The Lesser Key of Solomon though some of the images were removed. The book was first published in 1818 and then divided into two volumes, with six reprints and many changes between 1818 and 1863. This book attempts to provide an account of all the knowledge concerning superstitions and demonology. Princes and dignitaries: Beelzebub, supreme chief of the empire of hell, founder of the order of the Fly.